What is the ideal for a wing role player in the NBA?
There is something of an orthodoxy of what teams are looking for at this point in role players. So when you get to the second round, there are players that teams will take swings on and invest some draft capital on. But mostly if a player wants to play, they need to fit a type.
The premium around the league is on shooting at this point. The 3-pointer is such a key part of the NBA now that it is almost impossible to talk about any wing prospect without mentioning it.
Especially if a player is on the periphery of the NBA, they have to be able to shoot the ball.
However else they can differentiate themselves — with their defense or some other length-based skill — is gravy. But it has to start there.
So many of the players in this draft have that size factor but lack the shooting element. A lot of this draft will come down to projecting how a player can improve.
That is the work that David Roddy put in at Colorado State. Likely off NBA radars the last two years, he pushed his way into the fray this season not just by continuing his upward trend of scoring but also by dramatically improving his shooting.
David Roddy has pushed his way into the NBA Draft picture by improving his shooter and playing a unique style for an undersized forward.
That would help Roddy make his mark in the NBA considering the forward skills he also has developed that could differentiate him in this crowded and close draft class.
Roddy has made his own way into the NBA Draft and into the kind of buzz that has the forward potentially locking up a spot in the first round. And that uniqueness is something every team will find valuable.
Roddy is a 6-foot-6, 261-pound forward (those are his Combine measurements). At the NBA Draft Combine, he had a 6-foot-11.5 wingspan. That checks a lot of the boxes we know the Magic like.
He averaged 19.2 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game last year while shooting 57.1-percent from the floor and 43.8-percent from beyond the arc on 3.4 3-point attempts per game. He shot 69.1-percent from the foul line last year and 73.9-percent across his three seasons.
His year last year was good enough to earn him his second trip to the All-Mountain West Conference Team and the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year.
Roddy is a forward in a guard’s body. He has the size to defend multiple positions and in college, he took to that defense. And he gets in the mix for rebounds and in the paint to finish with jams.
That was the constant of his three years at Colorado State.
He averaged more than 5.0 rebounds per game in each of his three seasons, an impressive feat for a smaller player. He recorded better than 8.0-percent offensive rebound rate his first two years and settled in at 7.4-percent this past year. His total rebound rate sat at 14.5-percent this year, his low for his career.
But those are all things guards are not supposed to do. It is at least a signal of Roddy’s willingness to throw his body around and use it to get in the paint.
That size seems to hide the kind of speed he has to move around and cut through the paint. He is not only able to take that contact, he often caught defenders sleeping on his size and ran by them for baseline cuts or dump downs to the basket.
And if teams put a smaller defender on him, Roddy can back them down and hit a quick turnaround jumper over them. But he is strong and nimble enough to catch bigger players off guard with spin moves and delicate finishes at the rim.
There is a lot packed into Roddy and a lot of potential teams could use with him. And that is still the biggest attraction from him. Especially among later picks, he stands out for these different skills.
At the Combine, Roddy posted the seventh-fastest time in the lane-agility drill (10.75 seconds) and measured well with a 3.10-second shuttle run and 3.22-second three-quarter court sprint. Roddy can get that big body moving.
Certainly working against him some is that the big frame limits his athleticism to finish around the basket and move defensively against quicker guards. He can get up and jam, but he will not wow anyone with his athleticism as his middling numbers in the standing vertical leap and max vertical leap show.
This is where Roddy uses his tools best.
He is not going to be able to move laterally with the ball particularly well. But when there is an open lane in front of him, he bursts through it and can finish at the rim. His straight-line drives can leave a devastating impact on defenders who do not expect him to be able to shoot through the gap that quickly.
Roddy’s size is undoubtedly what makes him unique but also the thing that could hold him back.
Even the NBA Draft Combine grouped him with power forwards, which is probably the position he would be most comfortable playing in the NBA. But he is vastly undersized to do that.
So that brings everything back to that great equalizer — the 3-point shot.
Roddy has undoubtedly done a lot of work to improve his 3-point shot in college — he shot 19.5-percent his freshman year and improved to 27.8-percent his sophomore year and 43.8-percent last year all on about three attempts per game.
His free throw percentage — especially last year when it dipped below 70-percent — will certainly bring pause that his shooting breakthrough this year will translate to the NBA. It is something he has to keep improving on.
And that will be essential to his potential success in the NBA, at the end of the day. He has to be able to hit shots from beyond the arc.
That is how the undersized P.J. Tucker is able to make his due as a center for so long. He is tough to move on the block and can spread centers out to the 3-point line.
Ultimately, the team that drafts Roddy is going to have to carve that kind of specific role for him. They are going to have to rely on his 3-point shooting to continue to improve to carve his space on the floor.
From there it is going to be about the teams determining whether to use him as a guard or a forward. If he can improve his lateral quickness, he becomes a bulwark who can defend the perimeter. If he improves his 3-point shot, he might be a difficult-to-move undersized forward.
That potential and versatility is something the Orlando Magic have always chased. Roddy is not quite the athlete and clear defensive player the Magic have sought, but he fits part of that profile.
Roddy though has always clearly developed his way. He has focused on his strengths and has clearly put in the work to add skills that will help him in the NBA.
It is still not clear where Roddy will fit when he reaches the NBA. But he has mapped his own way there. And in that way he stands out.